Blues Too Strong For Rams  (Sky Sports)

Derby County 0 Chelsea 2

Salomon KalouChelsea moved into fourth spot in the table with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Derby.

Goals from Salomon Kalou and Shaun Wright-Phillips were enough to give Chelsea all three points and consign Derby to another defeat.

Kalou broke the deadlock on 17 minutes with a well-worked goal and Wright-Phillips scored the second on 73 minutes after Frank Lampard's shot came back off the post.

The game ended on a sour note for Chelsea when substitute Michael Essien was sent off for aiming a forearm at Kenny Miller.

It was a hotly-disputed end to a game that had started with boos and jeers for Chelsea's England trio, including John Terry, back after seven weeks out following a knee operation.

Nevertheless, he was his customary composed self until furiously disputing Essien's red card, twice throwing the ball to the ground as he confronted the referee.

And yet the game had started so comfortably for Chelsea, who took the lead courtesy of Kalou's fifth goal of the season.

Mikel Jon Obi, Shevchenko and Steve Sidwell played their part, with the latter sliding a ball into the path of Kalou, who proceeded to pass a low shot into the net beyond Stephen Bywater.


The rest of the half took on a training ground routine of defence versus attack in front of a crowd of nearly 33,000.

Wright-Phillips was denied by a fingertip save from Bywater as he turned away a 25-yard right-foot drive.

Then with six minutes of the first half remaining, it should have been game over as centre-back Claude Davis inexplicably nodded a Wright-Phillips cross down into the path of Kalou.

But the 22-year-old failed to accept the gift as he sidefooted Davis' gaffe over the bar from six yards.

Derby's only chance of the half saw Terry block a drive from David Jones in the 27th minute, with Jay McEveley firing the rebound high over the bar.

But at least Derby made Chelsea work a lot harder after the break, ensuring there would be no mauling as against West Ham a fortnight ago when they were hammered 5-0 in front of their own fans.


Captain Matt Oakley first rifled a drive through the six-yard box two minutes into the second period, while Cudicini - standing in for Petr Cech nursing a calf injury - was finally called into the fray in the 51st minute.

Craig Fagan stung Cudicini's fingers following fine approach play involving Barnes, Miller and Jones.

In between, Lampard forced a save out of Bywater with a left-wing free-kick, taken under the most appalling provocation from the Derby supporters.

But they at least fired up the players before they succumbed to Wright-Phillips' decisive strike.

Further controversy had proceeded that as Miller coolly lobbed an advancing Cudicini after taking a Dean Leacock pass on his chest, only for a linesman's flag to wrongly flag him offside.

If boss Billy Davies was unhappy with that, he was furious soon after as he appealed for a foul from behind by Shevchenko on Barnes.

As the youngster lay on the ground in pain, Lampard strode away before twisting and turning his way into a shooting opportunity.

Although his effort struck the post, the rebound fell to Wright-Phillips, who stroked home from close range after initially taking a moment to control the loose ball.

Substitute Steve Howard then missed a close-range header late on as Derby's goal drought now stretches to 10 hours and shows no sign of coming to an end.

That was before the rightful dismissal for Essien.


Derby County Bywater, Davis, Griffin, Leacock, McEveley, Moore, Barnes (Howard 75), Jones, Oakley (Feilhaber 84), Fagan (Earnshaw 86), Miller
Subs Not Used Price, Mears

Chelsea  Cudicini, Belletti, Ben Haim, A. Cole, Terry, Lampard (Pizarro 90), Mikel, Sidwell (Essien 75), Wright-Phillips, Kalou, Shevchenko
Subs Not Used  Hilario, Alex, J. Cole
Booked  A. Cole
Sent Off  Essien

Kalou 17, Wright-Phillips 73

Attendance 32,789

Referee A. Marriner

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